Carterton's artisan baker Michael Kloeg is delighted to have claimed the country's top pie-making award.
''It's every baker's dream,'' the 30-year-old said today, after his lamb cutlet and kumara mash creation was named best pie at last night's 2014 Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards, beating hundreds of other offerings.
The pie wasn't just mouth-watering but also eye-catching, its cutlet bone protruding from the pastry attracting a few jokes from the judges.
"The cutlet was literally sticking out the top of the pie so it gave you a pretty good indication it was a lamb pie . . . I didn't want to stab my eye for the pie," celebrity judge Simon Gault said.
"The pastry, meat and gravy were in perfect ratios," said Brent Kersel, Bakels managing director and awards judge.
"The lamb was cooked to perfection and the kumara mash was a great flavour which worked well with the lamb."
Kloeg, who adapted his version of the pie after seeing a skeletal protrusion at an Australia bakery, started Clareville Bakery in the old Dippers Chapel only 11 months ago with his wife, Rose Kloeg.
When they found out they had won a gold medal for a category at the awards so had been invited to attend, they were ''terribly excited''. That was swiftly eclipsed only days later by the supreme win last night.
Previously, they worked in partnership with his parents for about seven years, running Masterton's Ten O'Clock Cookie Bakery.
They were expected to arrive home this afternoon but business had been booming at the bakery today with the news quickly spreading about the win.
Fortunately they prepared, making lots of extra pastries and a huge demand on the lamb and kumara offerings, which Kloeg admitted was his favourite pie.
The winning pastry had competed against some other pretty exotic entries, including rabbit and wild boar, caramelised rhubarb and wildberry, chilli con carne, spiced duck with bacon, and a "cheeky cheese" slow-cooked beef cheek and cauliflower cheese pie.
Bakels spokeswoman Pauline Ray said Wellington region bakers had stepped up this year.
"There was such a good showing from Wellington - a really good response that paid off with the number and calibre of entrants."
There were two golds for regular medallist Lam Ho, of Taupo's Paetiki Bakery, a gold for Roger Cathro, at Pak 'n Save in Petone, and a gold for Kim Hour Chheur, of Waipukurau's Angkor Wat Bakery.
- The Dominion Post
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